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Alito Confirmed By Senate

Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito takes his seat prior to the start of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2006.
AP
Samuel Alito was sworn-in as the 110th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, hours after he was confirmed by the Senate on a sharply partisan vote.

Alito was expected to join new Chief Justice John Roberts and the rest of the Supreme Court justices at tonight's State of the Union address.

Alito will be sworn in a second time at a White House ceremony Wednesday.

The final Senate vote was 58-42, with all but one of the Senate's majority Republicans voting for Alito's confirmation, and all but four of the Democrats voting against him.

That is the smallest number of senators in the president's opposing party to support a Supreme Court justice in modern history. Chief Justice John Roberts got 22 Democratic votes last year, and Justice Clarence Thomas- who was confirmed in 1991 on a 52-48 vote – got 11 Democratic votes.

Alito watched the confirmation vote on television at the White House. CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller reports a cheer went up in the Roosevelt Room as the tally was announced confirming Alito.

President Bush led in the applause as he and Alito watched the roll call vote together. Mr. Bush shook Alito's hand and told him "now go to work."

In a written statement, Mr. Bush said he was "pleased" with the Senate vote, and he again described Alito as "a brilliant and fair-minded judge who strictly interprets the Constution and laws and does not legislate rom the bench."

Senate confirmation of Alito is a major political victory for the president in a midterm election year, CBS News correspondent Peter Maer reports. The political timing is good for Republicans because the addition of Alito to the high court will help the president appeal to core conservatives who turn out in off-year elections.

Alito is a longtime federal appeals judge, having been confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on April 27, 1990. Before that, he worked as New Jersey's U.S. attorney and as a lawyer in the Justice Department for the conservative Reagan administration.

It was his Reagan-era work that caused the most controversy during his three-month candidacy for the high court.

Alito replaces O'Connor, the court's first female justice and a key moderate swing vote on issues like assisted suicide, campaign finance law, the death penalty, affirmative action and abortion.